The Shaker Museum at South Union

So, on our chronological trip along the route I took through the states last week, it’s still Sunday, two days to go until the conference starts, and we’re still on the Kentucky Scenic Byway on our way to Lexington – but right now we’re pulling off that Byway for a little bit, and following a sign by the roadside that said it would lead to the “Shaker Village.”

The Shaker are a religious group that formed in 18th century England, and their actual name is the “United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing.” They’re commonly referred to as the ‘Shakers’ because of the extatic nature of their worship services, and apparently emigrated from England to New York in 1774.

Shaker lived a monastic, equalitarian and communitarian life together in communities they built for themselves – the one I visited in South Union,  Kentucky they lived in from 1807 until 1922. Today it is a national heritage site where you can go on a self-guided tour and learn about Shaker everyday life in the 19th century and look at what historical furnishings and buildings remain. They also have historical documents, such as diary entries written during the Civil War, which I found particularly interesting.

Here’s a quote from one:

January 22, 1862 – Scots Cavalry regiment called and expect to camp in our lots near the Office for some days. We were ordered to furnish 600 pounds of bread. There being no chance to get off, the Sisters undertook to furnish it which was completed by 3 o’clock next A.M. Poor Sisters, no sleeping done that night.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.